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Blake, Cassels & Graydon LLP’s well-rounded practice handles technology transactions, commercial agreements and regulatory matters for a diverse roster of clients, including Canadian and multinational technology, financial services and retail companies. Montreal-based Sunny Handa, noted as a ‘strong performer’, is the key contact and recently advised Pokémon Company International on various Canadian issues, including copyright and privacy matters. On the transactional side, Handa led the technology department’s advice to Infolytica on its acquisition by Mentor Graphics. In Vancouver, Troy Lehman advised Sierra Wireless on its $107m acquisition of Numerex. In a pair of high-profile exits, former practice co-lead Christine Ing left to join McCarthy Tétrault in Toronto, while Vancouver’s Cheryl Slusarchuk left for an in-house position at Numerix. Further, Hélène Deschamps-Marquis left the firm in autumn of 2019.

McCarthy Tétrault’s technology practice, which was already a market leader, was significantly boosted in 2018 through the arrival of the ‘very talented’ Christine Ing, who joined the Toronto office from Blake, Cassels & Graydon LLP. According to sources, the firm has ‘dominated the Canadian technology market since it first became a practice area’ and its recent high-profile hire should cement its reputation going forward. In Toronto, sector specialist Barry Sookman is widely admired for his ‘encyclopedic knowledge of the industry’ and, together with the firm’s litigation and IP departments, represented a group of interveners in the landmark Google Inc v Equustek Solutions case. On the commercial side, Montreal-based department head Charles Morgan advised Bombardier on negotiating a global services management agreement with IBM valued at approximately C$700m. On the transactional front, Toronto-based George Takach acted for Kroll Computer Systems in its sale to Telus. Other names to note include Vancouver-based David Crane and Montreal-based Véronique Wattiez Larose.

A prominent player in major IT and outsourcing transactions, Osler, Hoskin & Harcourt LLP also houses specialist expertise in public policy, privacy and emerging companies. Department co-chair Wendy Gross is well known for her experience in sensitive and complex technology transactions, particularly outsourcing arrangements. Notably, Gross has been retained by several Canadian financial institutions to advise on new card and payment products. Michael Fekete jointly chairs the practice and recently advised a global technology company on IT procurements undertaken by the Government of Canada and provincial governments. The ‘solidly deep bench’ also benefits from the senior experience of Simon Hodgett, while Ted Liu is ‘up there among the next generation of leaders’. Representative clients include Facebook, Microsoft and the Information Technology Association of Canada. All named lawyers are based in Toronto.

Deeth Williams Wall LLP’s strong focus on IT and IP law translates into a broad technology practice, with notable expertise in technology transactions, privacy issues, outsourcing agreements and e-commerce matters. Amy-Lynne Williams, ‘a foremost expert in IT law’, is a high-profile figure and routinely represents both producers and users of technology. Recent highlights include advising a technology company on a major commercial arrangement in the e-payment sector. Richard Austin, who brings to bear significant in-house experience gained during his 18-year stint at IT service provider EDS Canada, is also recommended.

An ‘outstanding practice that continues to improve’, FASKEN impresses with its ‘superior levels of service’ and ‘deep team that can cover a wide variety of technology issues’. Among its highlights, Toronto-based John Beardwood, noted for his ‘thorough knowledge of the law’, advised Canada Health Infoway on the first national e-prescribing solution, PrescribeIT. Andrew Alleyne, also in Toronto, advised a Canadian retail bank in a series of transactions with four different vendors relating to the development, hosting, security monitoring and colocation of a new digital platform. In Vancouver, the ‘excellent’ Karam Bayrakal advised 1QB Information Technologies on four collaboration agreements with Fujitsu. Other key names include Montreal-based Jean-Nicolas Delage and Toronto-based ‘up-and-comer’ Andrew Nunes, who garners rave reviews for his ‘excellent negotiation skills’.

Goodmans’ ‘extremely responsive’ and ‘incredibly knowledgeable’ team is valued for its ‘excellent grasp of the needs of tech entrepreneurs’. The Toronto-based group is well versed in the full spread of corporate, commercial and regulatory matters and acts for a comprehensive roster of IT users, investors, vendors and public agencies. Sector specialist Richard Corley, who chairs the outsourcing and cleantech groups, advised KIK Custom Products on the procurement, negotiation and implementation of a variety of technology agreements with providers including Oracle and IBM. Technology co-chair Allan Goodman — ‘extremely knowledgeable about acquisitions’ — advised Ceridian HCM Holding on its $631m IPO on the NYSE and the TSX. The group also includes transactional specialist Jamie Firsten — ‘provides detailed guidance on building a technology business in Canada’ —and technology co-chair and litigator Peter Ruby.

Bennett Jones LLP’s growing technology practice is well known for its experience in data governance, outsourcing, cloud computing and electronic health systems. Highlights included Martin Kratz QC, who leads the anti-spam group, advising Telecommunications Research Laboratories on the wind-down of its Canadian operations, including negotiating agreements for the disposition of IT assets. Other key contacts are Stephen Burns, who ‘takes a pragmatic approach to technology and IP matters’, and IT lead Michael Whitt QC. All named lawyers are based in Calgary.

Borden Ladner Gervais LLP’s technology group, led from Toronto by Mark Fecenko, is particularly strong in healthcare-related matters. It also houses a robust emerging companies offering, which saw Montreal-based Patrice Martin advise several venture funds on funding rounds over the past year. Toronto-based Eric Boehm, who has a strong record in business process outsourcing, is also recommended.

Norton Rose Fulbright fields a diverse practice, which has recently advised on technology transactions, licensing matters, commercial agreements, venture capital and litigation. Highlights included advising a business directory client on a licensing agreement to resell an all-in-one commerce platform in Canada— Toronto-based Robert L. Percival led the technology aspects of that work. Anthony De Fazekas, also in Toronto, heads the Canadian technology and innovation group.

The ‘exemplary’ team at Torys LLP finds favour for its ‘fast responsive times’, ‘clear and concise guidance’ and ‘very high level of expertise’. Technology outsourcing is a strong suit and the group also handles licensing, privacy and transactional matters. Among its highlights, Joel Ramsey advised a consortium of regions and municipalities in southwestern Ontario in a project to bring high-speed network connectivity throughout the region. Adam Armstrong, who ‘provides practical solutions and is able to work with opposing counsel in a very collegial manner’, heads the department.

Baker McKenzie’s group, which is particularly prominent in data protection and regulatory issues, is led jointly by Theo Ling (‘a specialist in privacy issues’) and Arlan Gates (‘maintains a very flexible approach’). Highlights included assisting a multinational financial services company with reviewing its supplier agreements in relation to GDPR compliance.

Dentons’ national group — which is represented in Alberta, British Columbia, Ontario and Quebec — acts for an impressive raft of technology companies, users and licensees. In Toronto, Michael Beairsto is recommended for technology transactions and recently advised a multi-site healthcare services provider on the procurement and contracting of a human resources management cloud solution.

Gowling WLG’s technology group is particularly active in outsourcing and e-commerce matters, and it also draws upon the firm’s expertise in IP, privacy and corporate finance. Highlights included Toronto-based Parna Sabet-Stephenson advising a new entrant to the digital banking market on e-commerce matters.

A strong performer in technology-related corporate deals, Stikeman Elliott LLP also acts on outsourcing, procurement and privacy matters. Among its recent work, Toronto-based group head Wesley Ng advised Nutrien (formerly Potash Corporation Saskatchewan) on the integration of its and Agrium’s IT infrastructure in connection with their merger, including HR systems, supply management systems, external websites and internal intranets.

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